Fantasia Barrino Is Illiterate
Fantasia Barrino, a high school dropout who won “American Idol,” confessed to being illiterate on ABC’s 20/20.
“American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino reveals in her memoirs that she is functionally illiterate and had to fake her way through some scripted portions the televised talent show, which she won in 2004.
“You’re illiterate to just about everything. You don’t want to misspell,” Fantasia told ABC’s “20/20.” “So that, for me, kept me in a box and I didn’t, wouldn’t come out.” The 21-year-old R&B singer says she’s signed record deals and contracts that she didn’t read and couldn’t understand. But the hardest part, she said, is not being able to read to Zion, her 4-year-old daughter. “That hurts really bad,” she said, adding that she is now learning to read with tutors.
In her memoir, “Life is Not a Fairy Tale,” which she dictated to a freelance writer, Fantasia also said she was raped in the ninth grade by a classmate. She says the boy was disciplined, but she blamed herself for the attack. She dropped out of high school that year and became an unwed mother at 17.
Given her command of English grammar and her educational and social background, I would never have guessed this.
The irony is that she’s learning to read, something most of us do before our 10th birthday, now that she’s a millionaire and almost certainly set financially for life. It’s commendable that she’s doing so at this point, especially since the motivation appears to be concern for her daughter. Still, this once again proves that, just as education is no guarantee of financial success, neither does lack of it necessarily preclude becoming wealthy.